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Crafty students to travel the world in 80 ways

1 February 2006

Students have been known to adopt unconventional forms of transport - unicycles and rollerblades are not uncommon on campus - but University College London (UCL) rarely witnesses a sight as surreal as a hovercraft skimming over its grounds. That will change this Saturday, when two innovative UCL students set out on a journey that will involve not only a hovercraft, but also paragliders, yaks and nearly 80 other modes of transport.

Tim Moss and Thom Allen, both in their third year at UCL, have set themselves the ultimate transport buff's challenge: to circumnavigate the globe using 80 different methods of getting around. Tim, 22, put together the plan with Thom, 21, as a means of raising money for the TreeHouse Trust, an educational charity for children with autism. To make the expedition even more demanding, they aim to use each method of transport only once, with the exception of walking.

Tim, expedition leader and organiser, said: "Having spent the last year working with a boy who has autism, I am acutely aware of how much help he needs. When I saw the amazing work that TreeHouse does for children like him, I knew I had to help them."

He added: "There are so many parts of the trip that excite me. I'm particularly looking forward to paragliding from the Isle of Wight back to the mainland and riding yaks in Mongolia, but the most exciting thing about the trip is the challenge of not knowing exactly where we're going or how we're getting there."

The enterprising duo joined forces with the UCL Human Powered Flight Society to establish their first mode of transport, and as a result will set out on their hazardous trail from UCL in Steam Boat Willy, a pedal-powered hovercraft.

From there, and for the seven weeks that they've allowed themselves to get around the world and back, they hope to catch rides on vehicles ranging from go-karts to hot-air balloons. The team has received initial sponsorship from the UCL Travel and Expedition Committee, but are still seeking friends to help them across the globe. Their journey, which they are hoping to track on their website, will take them through Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Mongolia, China and the US, and many more places besides.

Media representatives, including camera crew, are welcome to attend the send-off from 10am on Saturday 11 th June in the main quadrangle of UCL, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, where there will be photo opportunities and a chance to speak to the expedition team. Journalists wishing to attend should contact Tim Moss on 07734 862 390 or at tim@80ways.co.uk , or Thom Allen on 07717 797 807 or at thom@80ways.co.uk . Any queries on the day of the event should be directed to Tim or Thom.

Notes for Editors

  1. For more information about Tim Moss or Thom Allen, or to set up an interview with either of them, please contact Tim on 07734 862 390 or at tim@80ways.co.uk , or Thom Allen on 07717 797 807 or at thom@80ways.co.uk
  2. Tim Moss is from Kingston-upon-Thames, south-west London, and has just finished the third and final year of his degree in Psychology at UCL.
  3. Thom Allen is from the Isle of Wight and will be entering the fourth year of his Geology degree at UCL in October 2005.
  4. More information about Around the World in 80 Ways, including an exhaustive list of possible modes of transport and details of the proposed route, can be found at www.80ways.co.uk .
  5. The TreeHouse Trust is Registered Charity No 1063184 and can be found at www.treehouse.org.uk .
  6. Steam Boat Willy was entirely designed and constructed by the UCL Union Human Powered Flight Society. More information about the hovercraft and the society can be found at www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~uczxhpf/ .
  7. UCL would like to make clear the distinction between this expedition and another by the same name, which was undertaken by Robin Dunseath and his team in 2002. More information about the 2002 expedition, which is distinct from the present challenge, can be found at www.aroundtheworldineightyways.com .